I’ve often said, “Don’t talk to me about race – unless you plan to speak the truth,” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Fear of a Black President does exactly that. Coates illustrates vividly what I and so many others have said about President Obama: His color is holding him back. It is literally creating problems – and illustrating others – about the state of race relations in this country. What makes this piece different from so many others? Flawless execution, historical context and good old fashioned fact gathering.
The examples are stunning. Coates elevates truth telling to a level of sophistication that only comes with the right forum and brains. When speaking of the negative impact Pres. Obama’s comments on the Treyvon Martin situation he said:
“For most of American history, our political system was premised on two conflicting facts—one, an oft-stated love of democracy; the other, an undemocratic white supremacy inscribed at every level of government. In warring against that paradox, African Americans have historically been restricted to the realm of protest and agitation. But when President Barack Obama pledged to “get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he was not protesting or agitating. He was not appealing to federal power—he was employing it. The power was black—and, in certain quarters, was received as such.
No amount of rhetorical moderation could change this. It did not matter that the president addressed himself to “every parent in America.” His insistence that “everybody [pull] together” was irrelevant. It meant nothing that he declined to cast aspersions on the investigating authorities, or to speculate on events. Even the fact that Obama expressed his own connection to Martin in the quietest way imaginable—“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”—would not mollify his opposition. It is, after all, one thing to hear “I am Trayvon Martin” from the usual placard-waving rabble-rousers. Hearing it from the commander of the greatest military machine in human history is another.”
I believe that racism exists. I also believe that too often overt cries of racism are either excuses for laziness or are inappropriate given the likely response and the needed action. I hesitated to even share this article because I’m tired of being seen as a Black woman first, and Kellye Whitney second. But I live in the world, and I’m too smart to delude myself about what is and what is not. For me there is no denying that Coates is right: “Barack Obama governs a nation enlightened enough to send an African American to the White House, but not enlightened enough to accept a black man as its president.”
There is a coterie of people in this country who are terrified that there is a Black man currently working in the highest office in the land. They are experiencing a desperate rear guard reaction to this state of affairs because it casts a shining white light/question mark on so many “truths” they have propogated about Black people to date. Essentially, President Obama is a threat to the traditional, established power structure, just as women were. That’s why women had to fight tooth and nail – and are still fighting for parity in many ways – for the vote.
Coates writes: “The idea that blacks should hold no place of consequence in the American political future has affected every sector of American society, transforming whiteness itself into a monopoly on American possibilities.”
Possibilities are what America was built on. They are it’s foundation, the source of the American dream. If President Obama can do this *dum dum dum*, what else can ‘they’ do?
Journalism at its best. Well done.
4 thoughts on “Fear of a Black President”
Quit race-baiting. Obama is a failure(not to mention a socialist). I can understand why you do it, though. Because you have nothing else. Another reason you use race-baiting tactics, is because it has worked for you socialists in the past, and to some extent, still does with some that are members of the Republican party, but are far from being conservatives. The biggest reason, though, is because his policies are failures. No doubt he inherited a recession, but his policies and spending have exacerbated it exponentially. Keynesian economic policies do not work. Blaming others only works for so long.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. So am I. My blog is my opinion, so please don’t ever tell me what to do on my space. Furthermore, you don’t know what you’re talking about. “I know why you do it though…because you have nothing else.” That suggests I’m operating from a position of lack, which could not be further from the truth. Socialist? You sound ridiculous. Race baiting? That’s the type of thing people say when they can’t handle the truth or don’t want to accept change. Try dialogue in the hopes of enlightenment and change. I’m not commenting on whether President Obama’s policies work or not. I’m commenting first on an article and second on an issue as I see it. Had you bothered to read my entire post you’d have seen I agree with you that blaming others only works for so long. I was speaking of Blacks who cry race too often, but apparently it is also true for random blog responders. Please don’t bother to reply. I will not be approving or reading any more of your comments. You have a good day.
Often times we all are bother by what other say, do, or even create problems for themselves. This is normal because they also blame others for the state of their lives, community, city, and the country. I am very careful about pointing fingers, saying things, posting blogs and even using names of those who also blog. Let me tell everyone that no matter what is going on in this world, it is because we all have problems with income, jobs, people stealing, cheating, lieing to us about so many issues that concerns us. We on the other hand begun to hear negative things over and over again by those who are out to make a point, want to get into office, lie when they do and when they should be upfront with all of us. We have all seen the affects things are with all of our lives no matter where we live, work and play. The bottom line is there is a need for all of us to not be taken into the wrong direction on anyone or anybody part. The basic is this; we will still be left behind because promises are never kept nor will they be. The ongoing purchase of guns, murders, on the job shootings, firing, lay-off and a great many of us suffer at the hands and at the decisions of other seem like we all should come together and make our lives better! We are so stupid that we fail to realize that we are our own worse enemy; banks use our money and take from us without our permission; charge us for using own money; people want to use our money as they see fit, we have no say-so and no recourse; we don’t earn enough interest on our money to make things easy for us; so why we continue to use banks and have their cards in our pocket making them rich while they charge us high interest. Auto dealer, tricking us to buy cars over 6 years and we pay nothing but interest; over the years the car will cost money while you still pay high monthly payments, then there are so much lies about banks, mortgage and you being the person who fall directly int the hole leaving yourself left in the dark. Finally, let those who seek whatever they want to, but you and I have the right not to be drawn in to support their causes unless it benefit all of us. That is how I see the world should be. We don’t need anymore racism thinking, accidents, we need hope, prayers and most of all, we really need one and other. if we are to survive.
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